Friday, 9 July 2010
Women are idiots; men are lunatics
In the Summer of 2006 I went on a short trip to the Balkans. I told few people about where I was going and did not take a camera with me. After arriving at Split in Croatia I caught a bus which took me along one of the most beautiful coastlines I have seen. I had yet to read the classic book by Rebecca West entitled, “Black Lamb, Grey Falcon” published in 1941. Rebecca was once a lover of the writer, HG Wells. Although the relationship floundered after a decade or so she appears to have gained much experience from the liason. For example, Rebecca says that women are idiots and men are lunatics. Why? Because women tend to be concerned with a private world of family and relationships whilst men are usually more concerned with outside, public events. For the women this might result in an idiotic situation where they find themselves making beds as a foreign army invades the city square. For men, it means they might have little notion of family tensions or emotions as they discuss sports or the meaning of some political news. Maybe things are different today. Rebecca is outspoken. And, judgemental. I like this, if it so happens that the author knows what they are talking about. More often than not I think she does. I discovered, “Black Lamb” while wandering about the main square of Dubrovnik. It took me about six months to read. Though, I often read Hemingway at the same time. It is not just a book recording her thoughts as she travelled the Balkans at different times in the late 1930’s (lastly, with her husband) but an insight into the authors soul and the ethnic tensions of that time. On my journey, I swam in the sea and looked back at the impressive sight of white coloured rock on land some miles further in. Further on, in Dubrovnik, the coastline is majestic. High up on a castle wall one can see a clear blue sea interrupted by emerald green or a brief wave of white. In the square itself is a floor of marble. And, in one building it is stunning to walk into a room of classical Roman style and look up to find that there is no roof. It is like looking at a moving picture as the clouds glide passed. On this short journey I also travelled through Bosnia visiting various towns and cities including Sarajevo, Mostar and Majagorie. At Majagorie I witnessed the Marian visions. It was an eventful and thoughtful week.